In the past several years it has been the trend that by October frontrunners in the Oscar race have emerged and the list of possible nominees is nearly set. However, there are always those movies that creep up at the eleventh hour and blow everybody away. Even though most of the Awards probable films are not released yet, they have already been seen in early critics screenings or at film festivals. However, there are some movies that are being picked as possible Oscar winners that have not been seen by any critics yet. Here are 7 movies that are awaiting consensus and could be big players at this year’s Oscars.
1) Amelia – October 23
Mira Nair directs this biopic starring Oscar favorite Hillary Swank as the mysterious pilot whose disappearance has yet to be solved. The movie has a lot of elements going for it that are complete Oscar bait – biopic of historical figure, based on a true story, impressive list of stars, tragic ending, etc. However, there are a lot of doubts about the movie and many voters who now regret giving Hillary Swank two Oscars may shy away from voting for this one.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor, Art Direction, Costume Design
2) Fantastic Mr. Fox – November 25
Reports have come in recently about Wes Anderson’s involvement in this animated film which raise some serious eyebrows about how much of the director’s vision comes across. Apparently he directed mostly via e-mail because he simply didn’t want to leave France. Despite the backstage drama. the stop-motion film looks incredibly innovative and original and has a lot of potential to sneak into the Oscar shortlist this year. This will likely be the first film on this list that we find out about as it gets its premiere this week at the London Film Festival.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Original Screenplay, Animated Feature, Original Song
3) The Lovely Bones – December 11 (may be delayed)
This tops many lists for most anticipated film of the year. Based on the incredibly popular novel of the same name, The Lovely Bones is a tragic story about a murdered girl who watches her family and her case from heaven. The film requires director Peter Jackson to come up with a vision for the afterlife, which is incredibly difficult to do. Expect Jackson’s usually amazing art direction from this film as well as great turns from the ensemble cast. However, it may be more of a populous hit than an Oscar probability like Jackson’s last effort, King Kong.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing
4) Avatar – December 18
This film has been the biggest tease of the year and fans of James Cameron have been hanging on for the ride. The trailer originally was received with disappointment, but the 20 minutes of footage that screened in August had a very positive reception. There is so much anticipation built up with this film that it is almost guaranteed to divide audiences. The Academy is still flying high on James Cameron after his last film from a decade ago took home almost every Oscar it was eligible for. If the reception is positive from critics, this may be a big hit at the Oscars.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Visual Effects, Sound Effects Editing, Sound Mixing
5) Nine – December 18
Any time a movie musical is released that is based on a stage musical that is based on a movie, the results have not been incredibly positive (i.e. Fame, The Producers). However, Nine has possibly the most alluring cast including a plethora of beautiful supporting actresses that each have fantastic opportunities to delight. Fans of the musical are waiting with baited breath as the film’s release continues to get delayed. While this film may miss out in several of the major categories, don’t be surprised if it gets multiple nominations in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Editing, Makeup, Sound Mixing
6) Sherlock Holmes – December 25
This film is the least likely to make a significant dent at the Oscars. However, don’t count out this action/comedy featuring one of the greatest literary characters of all-time. With ten Best Picture nominees and this film’s end of the year release date, if it becomes a big hit it might still be on Oscar voters’ minds when they fill out their ballot. Also, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law have had increasing prestige profiles and could sneak in with nominees out of pure favoritism. Who knows.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Costume Design
7) The Tree of Life – Release TBA
This film has had an on again/off again relationship with Awards projectors all throughout the year. With Terence Malick attached to any film it will have inevitable Oscar talk. However, this one might be the real deal with a fantastic cast featuring last year’s Oscar winner Sean Penn and last year’s nominee Brad Pitt. Nobody really even knows what the film is about, besides a brief synopsis, but if it gets released in time for the end of the year expect it to be a major player in this year’s Awards race.
Oscar Possibilities: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay